The road Psylocke aka Kwannon is going down in Fallen Angels is a deep one. Well, a deep one on the surface level. So far Bryan Hill and Szymon Kudranski have led us through a philosophical and spiritual story of identity. Psylocke is still finding herself after finally being parted from Betsy Braddock while a techno-organic entity is taking over child minds and needs to be vanquished before it kills all life on Earth. Or so it seems as it’s hard to sift through this sometimes vague and dreamlike series. In this fourth issue, it is becoming more clear what the threat is up to, but is it too little too late to care?
I think the answer is yes. So far it is incredibly difficult to read this book and take anything away from it. I’ve had to read each issue at least twice to gather what it’s trying to say and this is due to muddy unclear art mixed with dialogue and captions that are about as unclear. In its obtuseness, there is a sense of deeper meaning, but you need to dig to find it and must bring your own conclusions to make any sense of it. Case in point, we have a scene in this issue with Psylocke conversing with a child controlled by the enemy known as Apoth. It explains to Psylocke she saved it, although it’s not clear when or where this happened, and that after she left it alone it read the Bible. Cue a desire to rule everything and take over, I guess? That is the main brunt of this story with scenes with Cable, Laura and Psylocke, and another flashback to “then” when Kwannon was just a child. I’ve said this in reviews of previous issues, but maybe this will make a lot more sense read in one sitting, but as it stands it’s a frustrating experience since so little makes sense.
The art isn’t helping either. Most scenes are cast in complete darkness in this series and this issue is no different. There are moments that look cool, like the villain hanging over Cable, or a shot of a giant bright moon behind Laura and Psylocke as they look down on a new threat. Extreme closeups on eyes are a continued theme in the series and it harnesses some sense of deep meaning but ends up feeling shallow after the fifth time we see it. The key scene with the child and Psylocke is particularly muddy and confusing since there’s no environment around them. Maybe the creators are trying to create a sense of dreamlike wonderment with all the black, but it ends up making scenes feel confusing. Are they just standing around outside? I have no clue. Props should go to Frank D’Armata for his colors when they do pop in. The cybernetic zombie thing is lit quite well and the final page has a god-like feel that is largely due to the colors.
This is, unfortunately, an incredibly confusing series. It’s clouded in so much shadow and vagueries you’ll find yourself frustrated as you sift through its overly self profound approach. I’m certain there’s an interesting idea in there, but it’s being rendered in such a way that we’re seeing it through cloudy goggles with no clarity in sight.
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